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Why do people only take 1 out of these 2 in army lists? They're both pretty good...
well they are rather pricey in points, at least in 5th edition. And one is rather redundant on the other, so the truth is, it really depends on whom you are going up against.
vs Low T, Low armor armies, I would go with the Black Gaurd.
vs High T, High Armor, and mega-wound armies, take the Executioners.
Both have WS 5, heavy armor and magic standards, not all Dark elfs can do that.
I think it comes down to points. They are a special choice so we have to fill out troops and characters first, then most people add 2 rare choices(I have had success with lists with no rares however), and then we move to special choices. That generally does not leave many points to work with. I do sometimes like to use a small unit(6- of Executioners as a flanking unit. It will only cost roughly 100 points and they can tear up a flank relatively easily.
Against Brets, I suppose Executioners would be better?
I would always take Black Guard first. If there are any special choices left after all my choices then I would take Executioners. Black Guard are a point more, but they have Hatred in every round of combat. They have an extra attack, are stubborn and are immune to psych. They also have higher leadership which combined with the stubborn is pretty good. They aren't as strong but get more attacks and are generally more useful. Also giving them the Standard of Hag Graef which makes them strike first is absolutely deadly. I know a guy who has a unit of 14 in ranks of 7. When you charge them unlike Executioners there's no fear or terror test. Then they strike before your unit with 15 strength 4 attacks re-rolling fails to hit. Should you manage to win combat then they are stubborn with leadership 9, pretty hard to break. Unless you have a BSB you can't give Executioners the Standard of Hag Graef. I would recommend Black Guard.
point cost and especially when you place the 2 side by side, the comparison pales. BG shine much more so than Exes.
Exes strike last, are still frail, only have 1 attack, can't house characters (except assassins and frenzied witches) can't take most banners, champion can't hold magic items. They also have psych issues to deal with. IF the writers changed just one of these facts, I think you'd see them so much more on the field.
As said they both do the same role but in slightly diffrent ways.
I would always take black guard first though. Although i do love executioniors. Black guard can do alot more i ahve won many a game on my black guard alone. They wont budge from combat, they can take a 35pts banner not 25pts banner meaning can take the banner everyone loves without having to have ABSB with frenzy with them, like the executioniors. Also the tower master can ahve a 25pt magic weapon give him crimson death. You now have a hard hitting unit in CC and really executioniors unless there killing blow going to be useful which it often isn't, then Black guard win hands down.
"Should take you a while though because of your sloth like pace"
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I like both units, however, executioners need additional support i find to do well: a death hag with banner of ASF, assassin, or cauldron of blood even, which makes all the more expensive. BG can do fine by themselves.
well, if the Exes champ could take 25pts worth of magic items or if they could take a bigger banner pointcost then I would be more inclined to take the Exes, as they are, I have a hard time going for them. They have problems with psychology and not being able to strike first, they will lose a lot of battles where the BG won't. BG can still be beat down (they have a hard time vs. T4 troops) but don't run as easily as the Execs.
If Executioners could take the standard of Hag Graef then I think they would be a lot more deadlier. If you take both I'd suggest a cauldron of blood. The cauldron is pretty powerful. It can make your Executioners very powerful.